Do you feel stretched thin? Are you exhausted by your every day job of parenting? Do you sometimes wonder if you have too much to do, too many children, too many responsibilities, too much work? You need to learn the practicalities of managing a home full of responsibilities, and it starts with learning how to manage yourself!
Need more help managing the little years of babies and toddlers?
Check out my book, So Many Littles, So Little Time!
This book is FULL of ideas to help you learn how to have enough of you to go around!
LEARN MORE HERE!
I have said before that having enough of me to go around isn’t something I should worry about because God called me to this and He’ll equip me for it. But I realize as a mom who thrives on practical advice, readers might like to have some examples of how a busy mama can meet her family’s needs without feeling spread too thin. (You can listen to the podcast here!)
#1 – Delegate
I am the manager of my home and good managers (just ask my husband) ALWAYS delegate responsibilities.
Moms have this notion they should be able to do everything and be everything to everybody. If I try that approach my children will one day remember me as the mom who was always too busy. Not an epitaph to be particularly proud of.
So, who do I delegate to?
Well, there are a lot of options here. Above, was an opportunity the children initiated when their Mimi and Papa were over for a visit. Reading of this sort is often something the grandparents do and I love it, the children love it, and the grandparents love it! It’s a win-win-win situation! Grandparents are great for those little extras that are hard to fit into a day.
Then there are the children themselves. It is important to give the children responsibilities as they age. I have a couple of budding cooks who have a couple of meals a week that are theirs to prepare. It gives them the opportunity to grow and me a couple of hours I can redeem and redistribute elsewhere. A quick note here: Train them the do jobs correctly from the start. I could have saved myself numerous hours of training and retraining had I been diligent in the beginning days of teaching a new responsibility.
How about Dad? There are many women who complain about Dad not pitching in with things, but men aren’t always in tune with the family’s day-to-day life and need a little briefing on where they can pitch in at. Perhaps Dad can help out with science projects, giving the toddler a bath, or cooking a meal once a week. Don’t be pushy, but do ask. And don’t forget to bounce ideas off of him when you are feeling overwhelmed. Brainstorm with him ways you can hand off some of the load you carry.
#2 – Eliminate your time wasters
What unnecessary things are eating your time?
My time wasters have changed over the years. Once upon a time it was sewing. Another season in life it was reading. And of course, the big, bad internet! All of these (and more) have at some point in my life taken time away from my family. If you feel crunched for time, then there’s a good chance there is something in your life that needs to go.
Time wasters aren’t always bad things, but they aren’t always the best things. We have to practice a little self-denial and walk away from those things for a season.
#3 – Don’t let the Schedule rule you
Not that schedules are bad, but sometimes they tie your hands. If your husband needs you to take care of something on Tuesday that you would normally take care of on Thursday and you feel you cannot deviate from your schedule, you will only end up feeling out of sorts, anxious, and grumpy.
Everyone knows a good schedule can actually add time to your day; however, you have to be flexible in order to take care of off schedule items.
When you have off schedule items, make a list of those things and work through the list in an orderly fashion, making the rest of your schedule fit around the list. Avoid throwing the schedule out completely because I have found every single day has its share of off schedule items. If you start throwing out your schedule every time you have something extra to fit in, you’ll never work your schedule and you’ll always feel off track.
#4 – Family first
We have a rule of thumb in this house. If it doesn’t benefit the family, it’s not worth doing. That means if one or more of us participates in an activity that begins to show signs of tearing away at the family’s infrastructure, it needs to go…sooner, rather than later. In fact, it is best to assess an activity prior to participation because it is much harder to walk away from something once you’ve been involved in it for a while. Always remember, there will never be enough of you to go around if all you do is run around.
We also try to make the majority of our activities things the entire family can enjoy. This isn’t possible in everything, but the more things you do as a family unit, the easier it is to meet everyone’s needs as a mama.
#5 – Character doesn’t come from the easy life
Perhaps you think there isn’t enough of you to go around because your children don’t have the best of everything, the perfect day, their heart’s desire every single moment of their little lives. Giving your children everything they want all the time will not build the strength of character they will need to be leaders in this world. They must understand through experience that the world does not revolve around them.
I am one person, and there are moments during the day when I have to choose one child over another. Not out of favoritism, but because wiping a little one’s bum is more necessary than sharpening another one’s pencil. I do my children a disservice if I try to pretend I’m some superwoman, there to do their bidding all day long. Patience, deference, humility and the likes are born out of hardship. Not that I want my children to have a hard life, but I shouldn’t want them to have an easy life either.
#6 – Relax
Savor that cup of tea, breathe that fresh air, smile more. Take naps with the kids, build forts out of blankets, have a conversation with a 5 year old.
If you are feeling worn thin then you probably are. God wants you to rest. He expects you to be still.
He created you. He knows your circumstances. Let Him order your day.
He called you to this.
He will equip you for this.